Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Academy Award Winner Plays Piazzolla

Libertango is Piazzolla's most popular piece and with more than 100 versions of it posted on YouTube every month, it takes something special to hold my attention. Today's video did. It started a bit awkwardly with a distinguished looking gentlemen playing piano in a formal concert venue. The playing was a bit stiff but the arrangement was unusual - so I listened a little more. All of a sudden the pianist stopped looking at his music and a most unusual and fluid arrangement of Libertango unfolded. My mind had initially classified the performance as "classical" but it morphed into "jazz" as the pianist began to play what he heard in his head. Near the end, he once again looked up at the music and returned to a more formal setting of Libertango. Most curious.

It was not until I googled the name of the pianist, Luis Bacalov, that I understood this was something special. Bacalov is a prolific Argentine composer famous for his movie soundtrack work. Twice he has been nominated for an Academy Award and he won the best original music score award for his music for the movie Il Postino. If you are a movie fan, you have probably heard his music. The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) indicates that Bacalov's music has found it's way into 173 movies!

The video is from a March 8, 2009 concert at the Teatro G. Verdi di Fiorenzuola d'Arda by Bacalov and singer, Anna Maria Castelli. Videos were also posted of Bacalov playing Invierno Porteño, Decarissimo and his own composition honoring Piazzolla, Astoriando. Ms. Castelli provided vocals for Balada para un loco and Yo soy Maria. The concert also included many classic tango tunes and they are all a delight and they are all on YouTube. You can read a full review of the concert here.

If the video does not appear below, click here.

To learn more about Piazzolla videos, visit the Piazzolla Video site.

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